CROYDON COMMENTARY: Our borough scored poorly in a Healthy Streets report published last week. AUSTEN COOPER on how that can be improved
“The joy of cycling is that doing it doesn’t just benefit you. It doesn’t just make you happier. It doesn’t just make you healthier.
“It helps millions of others too, whether or not they have any intention of getting on a bike. It means less pollution and less noise for everyone. It means more trade for street-front businesses. It means fewer cars in front of yours at the lights.”
Who said that?
Some middle-aged man in lycra on a £3,000 road bike?
No. It was the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, just a year ago, when he kickstarted a “£2billion cycling and walking revolution” that promised thousands of miles of new protected bike lanes, cycle training for everyone and bikes available on prescription.
Croydon has the potential to become a great place for people of all ages and abilities to cycle. We know that because we’ve been campaigning for it for more than two decades, and a succession of council reports have said so, most recently the Croydon Cycling Strategy 2018-2023.
As the town centre changes from one dominated by offices and shops and 1960s dual carriageways to a place where people live, work, learn and play, the road transport network that Croydon residents use must change too. If it doesn’t, we’ll have gridlock.
Other London boroughs are making it easier for people to choose cycling as a fast, cheap and easy way to travel.
Croydon is lagging behind, watching other councils benefit from £100million in Transport for London funds to make the changes that will get bums on saddles. That money has to be committed for expenditure by Christmas.
So the pressure is now on TfL and London’s councils – particularly Croydon – to engage and consult with residents in delivering substantive schemes that enable cycling to become a means of mass transportation again. That means protected cycle lanes on main roads, redesigned junctions, safe diversions around bus stops and safe routes through quiet back streets barred to rat runners.
The Healthy Streets Scorecard shows we have a long way to go.
The money is there for the spending. All Croydon needs to do is go out and get it and spend it – wisely.
Read more: Croydon among worst London boroughs for ‘healthy’ streets
Read more: Time for London’s politicians to redesign streets for people
Read more: Climate crisis protest brings Selsdon Road traffic to a halt
- Austen Cooper is a member of the Croydon Cycling Campaign. He has written this commentary in a personal capacity
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